There are so many possibilities in property. This is a good thing, but also a challenge for any property ‘newbie’.
The property sector is a noisy place, full of people talking about different strategies, offering training for a million courses and championing the next best thing.
There are lots of strategies out there – sourcing, buy-to-let, HMOs, rent2rent, serviced accommodation, buy-to-sell, assisted sales, commercial to residential conversion, development, planning gain...the list goes on.
I’ve heard a lot of people saying that they want to do everything. They want to master every angle, as fast as possible.
This is the wrong approach. If you want to learn a musical instrument, unless you’re particularly gifted, you wouldn’t expect to master the trumpet, piano, guitar and didgeridoo at the same time, would you?
Of course not! The same applies to property (and pretty much anything else you want to become expert in).
The secret, which I learned quickly, is to focus. In fact, the secret is to achieve laser-focus.
Here are five steps to achieving focus in your property business:
1. Know your plan
Everyone who achieves success has a plan. We’re not talking about an extensive 100-page business plan here, rather a short statement of intent that you can easily commit to memory. This should be clear, concise and used to drive every decision you make in property.
A solid plan is the key to achieving focus. It should ensure you concentrate on one path and avoid the inevitable distractions of multiple cul-de-sacs along the way.
Some people talk about ‘knowing your why.’ This is an important first step, which is so often missed. What are the reasons you want to develop a property business? For what it’s worth I don’t believe ‘money’ is an adequate answer. The right answer is what money will allow you to achieve – more time, security for your family, or just greater options.
A basic plan needs to cover three elements:
- Where are you now?
- What do you want to achieve?
- What actions are needed to get there?
It needn’t be any more complicated than this. It just needs to be realistic and concise.
2. Research your options
It is important to do your research and get a flavour of the various property strategies open to you, but you must then choose one that is right for you. This is usually a balance between available time, finances, your own skills, and of course interest.
We are all different, so what works for one person won’t work necessarily work for the next. Much will depend on the amount of time you have when you start your business. For example, if, like many people, you start while still working another job, then your time will be limited. This means you need to look for a strategy that allows you to get started without being too intensive.
3. Pick one strategy and work it
Once you’ve chosen your strategy, work on it, almost to the exclusion of everything else. This is the only way to become an expert. One truism, in any industry, is that the specialist is in more demand than the generalist. Knowing everything about one strategy will serve you better than a bit about multiple strategies. It should also, in the long run, be more profitable.
My advice? Be laser-focused. Become obsessive if you must, but make sure you stick to one thing at a time. As they say, the first step on a journey is always the hardest – but remember, it’s one step in one direction, not multiple hops every which way.
4. Master the art of consistent and positive execution
A plan isn’t really a plan unless you execute it. Once it has been created, all your energy needs to go into making it a reality.
There are many reasons why a plan may not work, for reasons both in and beyond your control. However, the most common reason is that the planner fails to master the art of consistent and positive execution. They fail to push their plan on one-step at a time, every day, no matter what.
Distractions and being ‘overwhelmed’ often cause plan failure. Distractions can be avoided by always remembering to stick to one strategy, no matter what, and developing the discipline to remember this.
Being overwhelmed by the situation is also a common issue - when you feel the task is so big that you freeze-up and do nothing. One great tip for dealing with this problem is to make sure your to-do-list is always short and each day you know the single action that must happen to move your business on.
It’s better to complete one crucial action a day than a dozen non-essential activities.
5. Diversify, but carefully
Of course, as time goes on you can take on other strategies and start to diversify. However, only once the first one is nailed, systems have been built and you’ve mastered it from start to finish.
When you start to diversify, look for strategies that are tangential to your main activity.
Focus is never easy, but it is the key success in property.
James Miller is the Director of Sourced Slough & Windsor. His current focus is Assisted Sales (find out more here).
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